Harder, faster, better, stronger?

I’m sitting here at my desk at home – it faces the front porch and though I live in the Arizona desert – I have views of trees and overgrown bougainvillea bushes with salmon-colored flowers. I have a coffee press with me, a dark red mug I love, and my dog is sitting at my feet.

This is a beautiful setting and I’m soaking up every minute I can. This week starts a 2-week rigorous travel schedule, a large project to oversee at work, and follows the week I packed up my youngest and took her to college.

These are the times that coffee at my desk, soaking in the view, and starting the day with a bath are near survival. More hugs, not less. Slow down, don’t hurry. Taking time to find the beauty in routine.

I heard a speaker at a recent conference, who I think was supposed to inspire us to try harder. Speaking to a room of very hardworking and most likely, overworked executives. One thing he said nearly made me stand up and shout, “ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!” He said, “Every day, find three things you can do better than yesterday.” This, apparently, is how you become excellent.

This is also how you burn out, become discouraged and as we find out at the end of his speech, lose your marriage (ie; close relationships).

Three things every day I can do better? I can’t even count to three on some days. And while I am all about excellence and process improvement, that mindset is part of what is bringing us to a workforce that is akin to our consumerism: more, more, more.

I read my Twitter feed this morning, as is with many Mondays, I saw a lot of this:

–          At Starbucks! Ready to rock this week!

–          My inbox is already full – gonna be a rough week

And the corporations:

–          Firefox 6 released early!

–          Google buys Motorola!

(Now, my feed is awesome, so I also had a lot of laughs, and inspiration…) but this is common, and I’m often one of the above myself, tweeting about hard work and deadlines.

What is says to me is we have to work harder, faster, better, stronger!  Work it! Make it! Do it!

Inhale. Exhale. And how about –  Slower. Thoughtful. Conscious. Beautiful.

I’m an entrepreneur. A Ceo. I finished my degree while working and raising 3 grade-school kids. I’ve been earning an income since I was twelve. I’m not talking about lazy or uninspired. I miss yoga class for the extra hour of work more than I like.

But if our workforce – and so many of our brave entrepreneurs, especially – really believes that every day you have to do something better or faster to succeed – then we’ve lost something beautiful and anything remotely organic about the way we work.

Alexandra Stoddard, who brought so much beauty to the ordinary in life, says it this way: Making the things you do every day as beautiful and pleasurable as possible is a way to live a happy life.

Today’s Monday. I’m feeling the pressure of my week ahead, and full day, as I’m sure many readers are. Join me in lingering, listening, and savoring the beautiful moments today.  I’m going to enjoy my coffee – and my view – to the last drop.

2 thoughts on “Harder, faster, better, stronger?

  1. Hi Lynne – Love your description of life on the front porch, a great view, faithful dog and COFFEE! One piece of advice I would give anyone who wishes to improve – avoid the ‘motivational’ speakers. Most of these guys are very good at what gets them the next booking. Expand your own skillset and competencies in the areas that mean something to you and your business – but do it your way.

    Best regards

    • Thanks for the comment – I love the motivational speakers who have some kind of balance in place. The work, work, work message that’s out there is not my style!


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